Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Monday, August 20, 2012

Is 'humanitarian aid' inhuman?

Why do progressives, or the left, or whatever ideological label you want to use, support 'humanitarian' aid, when the very thing they do is negative for humanity? Is this not ironic? The view of the religious right is at least consistent.. they think God has put them in charge of 'helping the poor', and they don't believe overpopulation is a problem, at least from what i've heard from them. So while creating a breeding ground has some moral questions for them, it fits into their world view.

But progressives think overpopulation is a big problem. So why would they support sending food to overpopulated countries to encourage overpopulation?

Personally, i don't think govt should be involved in these kinds of moral decisions. They should stick to the basics, & let the religious or humanitarian groups agonize over the plight of the poor. It borders on 'establishing' religious views, not legal or ethical responsibilities of govt.

I understand those with a religious motivation. They feel God has given them the charge to care for the poor. Any human suffering causes them to ache in empathy for their plight.  But the secular humanism of the progressives does not have that religious motivation.  Neither does a govt.. especially the US govt, which is supposed to be separate, religiously.

And where do you draw the line? There are suffering poor all over the world. Some places there are political injustices.. syria, for example.  Innocent people do not receive justice. Many 3rd world countries do not have any kind of economic justice.. some are rich, exploiting the poor for their own enrichment, but most of the workers are dirt poor, eking out an existence that makes American poor look wealthy by comparison. Why do the progressive govts or groups not labor as hard to bring justice to them? We dump some food in ethiopia or somalia, but let the oppressed poor in china or india suffer. We 'liberate' iraq, yet let the syrian govt oppress the people.

And all during this, the progressives will bring alarming statistics about the horrors of overpopulation to the health & welfare of the planet, yet do the very things that make it worse. How is this reconciled in a logical way? How do american progressives support 'humanitarian' aid, when it is mostly a religious motivation?

Logical motivations are cold hearted. The 'heart' has no place in a discussion about motivations, unless that is the motive. Do  progressives, even though they know it is bad for the planet & humanity, support aid to the world's poor because of religiously motivated compassion?

I think it is inconsistent.. and ironic. If 'job 1' is saving the earth & cutting back on world populations, then artificially feeding people in large breeding grounds, with no strings attached, is illogical. Some have suggested exchanging food for sterilization, but this hasn't gotten much support from the progressives as a whole. Why not?

My part in this discussion is a philosophical one.  There are many poor, disadvantaged, hungry, homeless, & people without ipads all over the world.  Many humanitarian efforts are made, & have been made over the years to alleviate their suffering.  Humanitarian groups have formed to help those in need.  Govts have instituted social programs to combat the problems.  Cell phones, sodas & chips are provided for free.  But they have not been effective, & have only worsened the problems & compounded them.  Not only have the poor increased, but their dependency has increased, & our efforts to 'help' have only provided a breeding ground.  Giving away free food, housing, medical care, etc, only taxes the resources of those who are providing for themselves.  It does not promote independence.  It promotes a culture of crime, irresponsibility, & unchecked procreation.  The productive citizens of the world cannot afford to keep a 'zoo' for the amusement of social engineers & religious ideologues.

Here are a few of my basic objections for the motive for govt humanitarian aid:

1. Govt sponsored 'humanitarian' aid does not help humanity, but only makes things worse.

2. It seems to be a religious motivation, to 'help the poor', which violates the no establishment clause in the american constitution.  Other nations may have religious values embedded in their govt, but the us does not.

3.  Medical care, national protection, food, water, & housing are all necessary for people's survival.  None of these things are free or a 'natural right', but must be worked for.  Someone must pay for them.  There are not enough prosperous people in the world to support all the poor, or provide a breeding ground for them.

I have not addressed solutions.  I am only defining & identifying the problem, & the failure of the status quo & the programs of the last 50 yrs or so.  But to continue with the same failed policies is madness & folly.  We need real solutions.  The working people of the world cannot support a larger & larger dependent class.  The working people of america cannot afford to support a massive dependent class, or the rest of the world's poor.  We need to grow the productive working class of the nation, not shrink it by  moving them to dependency.  Our policies should be motivated by that concept.. that is the underlying philosophical basis for determining govt's role.

For some things in life, there are no solutions.  We cannot end death.  We cannot stop gravity.  We cannot end war or human violence.  We cannot stop earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis.  We cannot end poverty or provide free food, housing, medical care, or any other survival necessity to the world.  Individually, as a nation, & a world, we can only deal with things the best we can, & try to provide the best environment for people to work & provide for their families.  Redistribution does not solve any of these problems.  It also just compounds them.  It is clear that the cost to support a larger & larger dependent class is unsustainable.  Our budget is bursting with entitlements & welfare redistribution programs.  It is bankrupting us.

Some believe very strongly that americans have a divine responsibility to police the world, & seek international justice.  This, too, is a noble cause, motivated again, by a religious opinion.  But the underlying basis for the opinion is the same.  It is motivated by compassion for the poor & disadvantaged.  It is a religious view, not a logical one.  The basic 'rule' in the universe is that the fit survive.  You may try to work against that rule, but that is a religious goal, not a natural one.

Now if you want to argue the need for man to manage the earth, then other considerations should be made.  Overpopulation is a major problem.  Providing a breeding ground for unchecked population growth directly violates the goal of reducing or checking the world's population.  Unchecked human breeding diminishes the habitat of other species, & taxes the environment.  So the religious concept of humanitarian aid is diametrically opposed to more earth based concerns.  A balance should be sought, to satisfy both concerns.  But again, the current trend is unsustainable.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Sum of Good Government

One of the interesting things about the western US is how recent most of our recorded history is. It's easier to illustrate points without having to go back hundreds of years when a community started. The town i live in was not really settled much by 1900. There is a large flat area, called 'grasshopper flats' because fishermen used to stop & catch grasshoppers when they came to fish in the creek. There were a few farms, but not much at that time.. a couple of orchards, some cattle ranches, some hunters & hermits. Two brothers came in the '20's & each homesteaded a parcel. They were both stonemasons, & built some homes, and an inn that still stands. By the '40's, they sold their land to a lady who had made her fortune in mining in Nevada (some say she also ran a bordello, but that's just a colorful side note). She bought up a lot of the land, which had little practical use, because there was no water to irrigate crops or water homes. She paid to have a deep well dug, & once water was found, started developing the land. People from Phoenix bought lots & built cabins & summer homes, to escape the low desert heat. Eventually a town was established, with businesses, gas stations, grocery stores, shops, schools, churches, & all the usual small town trappings. When i moved here in the mid '80s, most of the land was unimproved.. about 25% was developed. It is almost like an island, here, because it is surrounded by national forest.. public lands. Now, it is about 95% improved. There are some larger parcels around, & a few lots that are empty, but it has grown a lot in the last 20 yrs.

This same history is repeated all over the country, & the world. You get some industrious people improving the raw land.. they plant fruit trees, tend them, & sell the fruit. They build houses & barns. Others raised cattle or sheep. They sold their livestock to other people, or traded for goods or services. Then an investor comes & adds more value.. not from their own direct labor, but they pay someone else to make the improvement, like the lady who dug the well. The brothers who sold their land made a profit.. they had money to live in town, & probably did not have to do stone work in their old age. They provided a necessary requirement for human survival: Housing. Others provided food. I'm sure there were tailors, hardware shops, bootmakers & other support services that benefited from the production of the area. The lady who developed & started selling lots also profited from her investment, even though she herself did not make any improvements.. but she paid for it, hiring others to do the actual work. The 2 brothers were able to do similar things with the proceeds from their land sales.. they were now 'capitalists'.. investors who used capital to work for them. Now they were able to profit from the labors of others, as they could hire work done, & still sell a house & make a profit.

By the time i came around, there were no homesteading opportunities. I was able to borrow from some capitalists, buy a lot, build a house, & sell it. The interest was pretty high, then, but the numbers worked. The demand for homes was there, so i could buy the raw materials & make something that people needed. I did almost all the work. I drew up the plans, got the permits, poured footings, installed septic systems, plumbed & wired the house, drove every nail in every board, & put together a house that would provide a protective, climate controlled environment for another family. I hired out the heating & cooling, & the drywall hanging, employing other contractors & paying them with the money i borrowed from the capitalists. I also had to use some of the money i borrowed to live on & to support my kids. But even with the cost of borrowing capital from others, i was able to provide a product that competed in the market. I repeated this process over the next 20+ yrs, employing my sons & teaching them useful skills.

This micro culture started simply, & has become much more complex as has the world. Technology improved methods & materials, & made what used to take a lot more work, easier. During this time, govt increased too. Police & fire districts formed out of necessity. Building regulations were adopted to protect the consumer from shady, fly by night contractors. The city incorporated a few years ago, as growth put too much weight on the county. I provided a lot of income for a variety of people in the community.. lumber salesmen, drivers, govt workers, teachers, utility companies, grocery stores, etc. But my provision also expanded across the globe as i bought goods from other places.. trucks, tools, electronics, clothing, food, etc. As long as i was able to build a marketable home, my increase spread to others, & their increase spread to me. We are all interconnected, & as long as the community is industrious & protected from thieves & vandals, growth is inevitable, & with it prosperity for all those who provide a useful service.

I think even in large cities, or taking the country as a whole, the same principles apply. This industrious working class.. the producers in society.. are what has made the US middle class the largest & most prosperous in world history. We have benefited from our pooled resources & built an infrastructure, providing roads, national defense, & other useful communal services.  The previous generation in my family worked & increased their family's wealth, not by stealing, or begging, or conning others out of their labors, but by working themselves.. in hard times.. & they raised families & life went on. Previous generations before did the same, not enjoying the levels of technology that we have now, but they had similar struggles & difficulties in life. My children & grandchildren will do the same. Those who work smart & hard will usually see positive results. We are all in a time line..generations before & after will live, love, work, & die in their time.  All we can hope for is the freedom & opportunity to build our own lives. If the capitalists charge too much in interest, it takes away from the fruit of the labor of the worker. If the govt charges too much in taxes for govt services, the same is true.  And if govt tries to do too much, wasting the fruits of our labors on inefficient or corrupt spending programs, it takes from those who produce.  Good govt should try to maximize the fruits of the labors of the workers.. by providing cost effective, useful services. They should also enforce fair regulations to prevent the capitalists from exploiting the workers. This is the sum of good govt. This is all we need.. no more, no less.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Spend without raising taxes

One of the biggest problems i see in american federal govt today is spending.  The idea of spending.  Govt decides to spend on some project.  They don't have the revenue, but go ahead with the project.  How is that possible?  It is like they raise taxes without having to do it, as all govt spending is paid by taxes.  They are raising taxes by spending.

This is another way they bypass the taxpayers, & obligate us for some federal projects without appropriating the funds.  It's not like we're in a crisis.. a war for survival or something that requires us to spend on credit.  No, they could spend only what they raise, but don't.  They spend far more than they raise.. over $1T this year!  These numbers are huge.  They are also dangerous to us as a society, as they put our currency at risk, & threaten our national security.

But we allow them to continue to spend.  They do not seem to care about the fiscal stability of the nation.  What kind of public servants are these, anyway?  They think they are rulers, or a privileged elite, like party heads in a communist country, or nobility in a monarchy.  They think they can tell us 'how it is going to be', when it is us who should be telling them.

We in america need to learn how to vote.  We need to be more skeptical & critical of our elected officials, & fire them without mercy if they don't serve the basic interests of the country.  We have too many career politicians, who see public service like winning the lottery.  We have too many fast talking salesmen, conning us with absurd promises that we should never even consider or believe.  I would like to see more 'citizen' representatives.. people from regular backgrounds, not mostly lawyers & political science majors, who targeted politics from infancy.

We don't need any more 'rulers'.  We need public servants.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Leftist Lies

Perhaps the most effective & favorite tactic from the left is distorting conservative positions. They take an issue & distort the motives or reasoning to smear their opponents. They repeat the lie over & over, a proven propaganda tactic, & promote their cause, not through open, logical discussion, but by seizing the narrative & using falsehoods to define their opponents.  Here are a few examples:

1. The tea party is racist.
2. Conservatives hate women.
3. Securing the border is racist.
4. Fox news lies.
5. Obama is a fiscal conservative.
6. Reduced govt advocates want anarchy.
7. Conservatives are greedy corporate shills.
8. Conservatives are war mongers.
9. Gun owners are stupid, racist rednecks.
10. Welfare reform is racist & hateful.
11. Conservatives want to ban books, teach the bible, & hate education.
12. Conservatives hate unions & want to exploit workers.
13. All conservatives hate gays & birth control.
14. Those who disagree with Obama are racists.
15. Conservatives are stupid with low iq's.
16. Conservatives want children, the elderly & the poor to die.

There are more, but this gives the idea. The central message is that conservatives are haters. That is a commonly used term to describe their opposition: The haters. 'Racist' is also used a lot, but still falls under 'the haters' smear. There is no addressing any points of reason, but just insults & smears.

I'll briefly address each of these.

1. No tea party person i know is racist. There are many multicultural people involved, both on the local & national scale. The tea party is primarily a single issue movement: Stop the spending. They are opposed to the out of control spending & deficits the govt has been doing over the years.
2. Many conservatives ARE women. The smear is absurd, and assumes that women cannot have divergent views, but all must believe in the leftist ideology.
3. Every nation in the world has immigration policy & laws. America has more immigrants than any nation in history, so we are not opposed to immigration, just open borders.
4. All media outlets promote a bias. A wise person has a variety of sources they get their information from.
5. Obama is the biggest spender in us history. This one is so overt it seems ridiculous. But many on the left promote this distortion.
6. Wanting a more conservative govt.. with less intrusion & less nanny state policy is not anarchy.
7. Wanting a fair tax system & reasonable business regulations is a noble goal. Americans want fairness for all, not discrimination against any class. We are the land of opportunity, & redistribution policies kill opportunity, as they punish those who succeed.
8. There may be some people who want the us to be a world policeman, but many conservatives do not like the cost or the meddling in other soverign nation's affairs.
9. The 2nd amendment is a constitutional right for all americans.
10. The welfare state has bred dependency & promoted crime & corruption. It is more compassionate to want reform, rather than continuing to waste money on programs that do not work, & trap people in a life of dependency.
11. This is an attempt to smear all conservatives as religious wackos.. most religious conservatives do not want this.
12. Most people see the value of unions, especially historically. We can also see the problems of corruption & overreach that some unions have had. The balance of power between unions & business has swung too far toward the unions, & we have lost manufacturing & balance because of inflexibility in many unions.
13. Most conservatives don't care about sexual preference, race, religion, or other diversity. The left tries to promote division to evade discussing real issues.
14. People disagree with each other's politics. This is no indication of racism.
15. This is just a broad brush smear.. obviously there are intelligent people & stupid people in all ideological spectrums.
16. Wanting a debate about entitlements & welfare is not hate. It is fiscally responsible.

I know we can get into more detail for each one of these, but a thorough refutation of all these points is not the purpose of this post, but an overview of the tactic.

Does this mean all left leaning people are liars & hypocrites? No, i don't think so. Some truly believe the distortions, and are afraid of the evil conservatives. There are many uncritical thinkers, who are easily manipulated by the propagandists, & are mere dupes in the leftist propaganda machine. When mobilized, they can be a powerful force for the left. They are sincere crusaders, & see themselves in a holy war against bigotry & stupidity. They do not realize they are caught in a lie & are mere pawns manipulated by professional propagandists.

Propaganda like this IS effective, though, so the left will continue to use it. Truth & reason are the only means to combat lies & distortions, but the culture is changing so that truth & reason are lost in a muddy mass of confusing points & counter points, all meant to continue the left's control of the narrative & let them define conservative views.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tea Party vs Occupy Wall Street

The tp says, 'don't tax me', or 'don't tread on me', or 'we're unarmed.. this time'. Ows says, 'where's my free stuff?', 'pay off my student loans', 'down with the capitalist pigs'. The tp did not care which party you were with.. if you were a big govt spender, they protested (and voted) against you. Ows seems to be an arm of the union & the democratic party.. maybe they weren't originally, but they have become that, now. The left is very fond of hijacking other movements & morphing it into their own.. environmentalism, civil rights, etc.  But they don't merge for ideology, only to get the numbers. To defeat the evil capitalists, they need a broad coalition, & they try to convince all other movements that they (the left) really wants what they want, too.

Occupy Wall Street actively campaigns for dems, attacks republicans, & just coincidentally are on the left on every issue. You did not see that with the tp. The tp scared the crap out of republicans, too.  They voted the spenders out as fast as they could, & didn't care what party they were in. I'm sure we'll see more of the same this next election.

I also think the charge that the tp is corporate backed is bogus. The corporations are just as scared of the tp as the rinos (republican in name only). Most of the people that went to tp rallies, & most that i know are regular working people that have had enough of wasteful govt spending, & the trend to a nanny state. No one paid them to go to these rallies.. they took off work, made their own signs, & demanded the madness stop. I'm sure this is true for some of the ows people, but if you watch their rallies/protests, you see a lot more organization.. someone feeds & manages the movements of the ows crowd. They were in tents for weeks all over the country. These were not working people taking some vacation time to do their civic duty. You have the big unions & big pacs & the democratic party working closely with ows, providing food, jail bail & legal expenses, signs, t-shirts, etc. Many republican parties tried to cozy up to the tp in it's early stages, only to be rebuffed as 'big spenders' & part of the problem. The tp is more of a single issue movement.. stop the spending. Ows is all over the place, & is barking up the wrong tree, in the basics. Those who do try to 'speak' for ows convey a muddled, inconsistent message.. ramblings about the evils of capitalism & economic unfairness.. the usual radical socialist talking points. So it is hard to take them seriously, even though they have managed to dupe a lot of people to succumb to their ruse.

And if anything the 'corporate' main stream media seems to support & promote ows at every opportunity. They actively compaign for obama & any leftist politician, & all leftist causes. Corporate cronies got the spoils from the obama victory.. GE, GM, solyndra, etc.. and they are glad to have the ows vilify all the evil capitalists so they can keep on draining the treasury. But the people are waking up, & we're onto you. We many miss a few shysters here & there, but we're going to be a lot more critical in our voting.. at least i hope we do. The leftist propaganda machine is pretty powerful, & sifting through their lies & distortions isn't easy.